Pepón Osorio’s new public art with Philadelphia Contemporary, Black Music City Awards 46 grants, and Black Box Curatorial Opportunity!

We are very excited to hear of Pepón Osorio's new community project, which will focus on stories of health care deserts and the needs of people in Philadelphia, a very compelling (and huge) subject for an artist to undertake. But Pepón is the right artist to gather the community stories needed to compel attention. We also have news of Black Music City's awards to 46 artists, who will focus their projects of the legacy of Black music in our city. Finally, Vox Populi has a solid curatorial fellowship opportunity for curators of performance and duration-based art.


A nude mannikin stands with arms out on a colorful, upholstered chair, its face partly-obscured by a yellow, mirror-like object, its body pierced with objects like magnifying glasses and bloody q-tips, and needles attached to 4 IV solution bags. A hospital convalescence is suggested.
Pepón Osorio, Convalescence, 2020. Wood, mannequin, two channel video, pins, magnifying glasses, anatomical model, bandages, rubber, medical equipment.

Pepón Osorio’s project “Convalescence,” with Philadelphia Contemporary, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

From the press materials:

Philadelphia Contemporary, an arts organization that presents visual art, performance art, and spoken word across the city of Philadelphia, has received a $250,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the collaborative creation of Convalescence with artist Pepón Osorio.

Philadelphia Contemporary’s Curator of City-Wide Initiatives and Co-Director of Curatorial Programs, Rob Blackson, will work with Osorio to curate and produce the project, bringing together a group of audiences personally affected by the inadequacies of the United States healthcare system. Drawing attention to the system’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, the effort will involve local health leaders and raise awareness around the life-threatening illnesses that plague Philadelphia neighborhoods. This grant will support the first phase of the project, including research, development, and collaboration with community participants and a core group of artists.

Osorio, who has worked with over 25 communities in the U.S. and abroad, is a pioneering artist in the field of community arts and social practice. In 2019, he battled a non-COVID, life-threatening illness. After recurring visits to the hospital, he became inspired by the familiar faces, the stories, and the sense of hope that he and others learned to develop through their shared vulnerability. Having recently witnessed the inadequacies of the healthcare system among vulnerable populations of color, Osorio has set out to unify a group of Philadelphia’s most progressive healthcare advocates to creatively and critically address the issue.

In the first phase of Convalescence, Osorio and Blackson will arrange a series of ten family-led discussions over the next two years. These discussions, centered on Haitian, Latinx, and African American experiences of healing as a creative act, will be organized by five community collaborators and supported by a lead facilitator. Osorio envisions ongoing collaboration with an advisory-group of community-based medical professionals, caregivers, local residents, and individuals actively receiving care for illness. Together, the group will address the implications of the healthcare industry’s failings and present alternative approaches to providing healthcare in the hope of fostering personal and collective change.

Once Osorio has observed and participated in each of the family-led meetings, he will draw upon the stories to create a multi-media installation that raises health awareness around the life-threatening illnesses plaguing these communities. Support for the second phase will be gathered from a range of private foundations and individual donors.

$90,000 in grants to 46 Philadelphia Black creatives from Black Music City Project
Congratulations to the recipients of these awards to support projects related to Philadelphia’s Black music history. Grant amounts range from range from $1,000 to $3,500. More…

A special Juneteenth (June 19) event in Philadelphia during African American Music Appreciation Month will celebrate the grant winners and reveal their creations…Black Music City was established in December 2020 in a collaboration between Philadelphia public music radio stations WXPN-FM and WRTI-FM, and REC Philly, a place for creators. In its first year (2021), Black Music City distributed $48,000 in grants to 23 individuals.

Click here to see the list of 2022 Black Music City grant recipients, and read more about their projects.


Photograph of a dark space with a black-painted floor shows two large videos projected onto two walls, both featuring a woman.
Lorena Molina, “Balancing Act” installation view at Vox Populi’s Black Box Gallery

Black Box Curatorial Fellowship at Vox Populi Gallery

Provides $2,500 stipend for work, research and programming of time-based art and performance at Vox Populi. Application Deadline Feb. 27, 2022. Informational Zoom Feb. 19, 2022. Complete details here.

ZOOM Info Session on Saturday, February 19th, at 11am EST. To register and receive ZOOM log-in info, email

This Fellowship opportunity is open to those with or without previous curatorial experience. Applicants should possess an interest in engaging with time-based artists, ideas and audiences, and be willing to share their experiences from their respective field. Please note that this opportunity is intended for curators or collectives local to Philadelphia or surrounding areas, as it does not offer funds to cover travel, housing or meals.